Washington (AFP) - The United States and Brazil closed a 12-year-old fight over US cotton subsidies Wednesday, with the US paying $300 million to the Brazilian Cotton Institute to settle the trade battle.

US Trade Representative Michael Froman said Brazil had agreed to end its World Trade Organization case against the world's largest cotton exporter, and to not lodge any new actions as long as current US policies remain in place.

The US meanwhile must hold to the conditions under its current farm support policies. That includes keeping new limits on export credits and guarantees provided to cotton exporters, so...

Read more: US, Brazil resolve long-running cotton fight


NEW YORK (AP) — Even at age 88, Tony Bennett is still reaching No. 1 on the charts.

The singer is once again the oldest performer with a No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 for "Cheek to Cheek," his jazz duets collaboration with Lady Gaga.

"Cheek to Cheek" sold more than 131,000 copies since its release last week, according to Nielsen SoundScan, edging ahead of new albums by Kenny Chesney and Barbra Streisand. The placement gives Bennett his second No. 1 overall and Gaga her third consecutive No. 1 album.

Bennett established the previous record of 85 years old...

Read more: Tony Bennett sets mark as oldest act with No. 1 LP

Washington (AFP) - The director of the US Secret Service resigned Wednesday following a string of lapses by the elite presidential protection branch, including one in which an armed intruder ran into the White House.

"Today, Julia Pierson, the Director of the United States Secret Service, offered her resignation, and I accepted it," Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement.

Johnson appointed Joseph Clancy to serve as interim acting director until a permanent replacement is named for Pierson, who only took up her post 18 months ago after a prostitution scandal erupted within the agency.

An independent panel...

Read more: US Secret Service chief resigns over security breaches

DALLAS (AP) — The first Ebola patient diagnosed in the U.S. initially went to a Dallas emergency room last week but was sent home, despite telling a nurse that he had been in disease-ravaged West Africa, the hospital acknowledged Wednesday.

The decision by Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital to release him could have put many others at risk of exposure to the disease before he went back to the ER two days later, after his condition worsened.

Thomas Eric Duncan explained to a nurse Friday that he was visiting the U.S. from Liberia, but that information was not widely shared, said...

Read more: Ebola patient told hospital he was from Liberia


New York (AFP) - Wall Street stocks finished sharply lower Wednesday following mixed US economic data amid worsening anxiety over global economic growth and the first confirmed Ebola case in the United States.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 238.19 points (1.40 percent) to 16,804.71.

The broad-based S&P 500 tumbled 26.13 (1.32 percent) to 1,946.16, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index sank 71.30 (1.59 percent) to 4,422.09.

US private-sector employment increased by 213,000 in September from August, according to payroll company ADP.

But the Commerce Department reported that construction spending in August fell unexpectedly, by 0.8 percent, while a report...

Read more: US stocks sink on economic, Ebola worries

McLEAN, Va. (AP) — Police have revealed next to nothing about the evidence they have against Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr., and they won't have to for months to come.

But his name is already familiar in Virginia, and linked by authorities to multiple crimes involving young women.

Charlottesville police identified Matthew as a suspect even before his arrest last week in Texas on a warrant alleging he abducted University of Virginia student Hannah Graham with the intent to attack her sexually. That strategy can potentially vilify an innocent person, some defense lawyers say. But a missing persons advocate said the...

Read more: Police made tough call with UVa student missing

BALTIMORE (AP) — Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps registered .14 percent on a blood-alcohol test after he was stopped on a speeding violation, according to charging documents released Wednesday.

The legal limit for intoxication in Maryland is .08.

Phelps, 29, was charged Tuesday with driving under the influence, excessive speed and crossing double lane lines in the Fort McHenry Tunnel on Interstate 95 in his native Baltimore, according to the Maryland Transportation Authority Police.

The statement of probable cause also states that Phelps' eyes were red, bloodshot, and "his speech was mush mouth."

An officer administered field sobriety tests to Phelps,...

Read more: Police: Phelps' eyes, speech affected at DUI stop


If recent history is any indication, Kansas won't be the only school to fire its football coach before the end of the regular season.

Kansas made the season's first coaching change Sunday when it dumped Charlie Weis. Last year, Southern California fired Lane Kiffin, Connecticut removed Paul Pasqualoni and Miami (Ohio) ousted Don Treadwell by mid-October.

For athletic directors making the call, it usually comes with a great deal of hand-wringing as they decide if an immediate change will help the program or if they're better off waiting to see how the rest of the season goes.

"It's not an...

Read more: Midseason firings are a tricky choice for schools


PHOENIX (AP) — Jury selection resumed Wednesday in the penalty retrial of convicted murderer Jodi Arias as prosecutors try again for a death sentence.

Roughly a third of 300 potential jurors were dismissed Monday after telling the judge they had seen too much media coverage of her first trial to be impartial or had already made up their minds about her punishment.

An additional 100 prospective jurors were called in Wednesday before attorneys begin the process of whittling down the group further using questionnaires each potential panelist is asked to complete.

Arias was convicted of murder last year in the...

Read more: Jury selection resumes in Jodi Arias retrial

MAHMOUDIYAH, Iraq (AP) — The exhausted Kurdish fighters leaned against a pair of antiquated green cannons on a hill overlooking this northern Iraqi village, the ground around them littered with shrapnel from fierce battles with Islamic State militants.

One of them, Moustafa Saleh, tapped the cannon with his mud-caked boots. "Russian-made," he said, with a smirk. "My grandfather used the same one."

Iraqi Kurdish fighters on the front lines of battle say they have yet to receive the heavy weapons and training pledged by the United States and nearly a dozen other countries to help them push back the Sunni...

Read more: Iraqi Kurds fight Islamic State with aged weapons

imageMr Griffin lost his seat in the European Parliament in May

The British National Party says it has expelled its ex-leader Nick Griffin.

In a statement , the BNP accused him of trying to "destabilise" the party and "harassing" party members.

In a tweet , Mr Griffin took issue with the decision, accusing the party leadership of "plastic gangster games".

Mr Griffin stepped down as party leader in July after 15 years at the top. The party saw its vote collapse in May's elections, in which Mr Griffin lost his seat in the...

Read more: BNP expels ex-leader Nick Griffin

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a strikingly sharp public rebuke, the Obama administration warned Israel on Wednesday that plans for a controversial new housing project in east Jerusalem would distance Israel from "even its closest allies" and raise questions about its commitment to seeking peace with Palestinians.

The harsh criticism came just hours after President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met at the White House. Obama spokesman Josh Earnest said the president raised his concerns about the construction project with Netanyahu, though the two leaders made no mention of the matter in their public comments to reporters.


Read more: US sharply criticizes new Israeli construction

MILFORD, Mich. (AP) — General Motors CEO Mary Barra told investors Wednesday that GM plans a raft of new models and a big push to sell more cars in China to drive profits in coming years, as the biggest U.S. automaker tries to shift the spotlight from a mishandled recall of older small cars.

Barra needed to reassure investors that GM has a strong plan going forward. The stock has dropped about 18 percent this year. It rose 1.7 percent in afternoon trading.

GM recalled 2.6 million small cars worldwide earlier this year to fix faulty ignition switches that are...

Read more: GM looks to new vehicles, China to boost profit


By David Lague , James Pomfret and Greg Torode

HONG KONG (Reuters) - In the heart of Mong Kok, one of the most densely populated districts on earth, an abandoned Hong Kong police van is enveloped in the student-led demonstrations paralyzing swathes of the city. Along with yellow ribbons and flowers, symbols of the city’s pro-democracy movement, protesters have taped a hand-written placard in Chinese and English to the side of the locked and undamaged vehicle.

“We can’t accept the Hong Kong police becoming the Gong An,” it reads - a reference to China’s feared Public Security Bureau, which enjoys...

Read more: Special Report: In 'Umbrella Revolution,' China confronts limits of its power


NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — A man accused of beheading a woman at an Oklahoma food processing plant after being suspended from his job was ordered held without bond Wednesday and asked a judge to name a Muslim as his court-appointed lawyer.

Alton Nolen, 30, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Colleen Hufford, 54, and with two counts of assault. Prosecutors said Nolen was stabbing another employee when he was shot by a plant manager in an attack last Thursday at the Vaughan Foods plant in Moore.

In a video arraignment Wednesday, Judge Michael Tupper ordered Nolen held...

Read more: Beheading suspect ordered held without bond


SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah woman is accused of driving her teenage son by a convenience store to shoot at rival gang members he had been fighting with at school.

Prosecutors said Lisa Egersdorf picked up her 17-year-old son from his Salt Lake City school and was behind the wheel when he fired several shots at the group.

Charging documents show she asked, "Did you get them?" after he fired at their car. No one was hurt in the Sept. 22 drive-by shooting.

Police said Damian Garcia yelled "Mom, they just jumped me," when and he and his...

Read more: Mom accused of helping son in drive-by shooting

Protest organiser Jun Yip told the BBC the people of Hong Kong "are not alone"

Demonstrators have gathered outside the Chinese embassy in London to support pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

Organisers of the London protest said 3,000 people had gathered to show people in Hong Kong "they are not alone".

Many carried umbrellas, the symbol of protests in the former British colony.

Thousands of people have taken to the streets in Hong Kong after China said it would vet candidates for a leadership...

Read more: HK protest at London Chinese embassy


The Caterham team say they will race at the Japanese Grand Prix this weekend despite bailiffs visiting their base.

Team sources say the visit to their Oxfordshire site on Wednesday is not related to the F1 team.

"All operations are currently in place at Leafield and the race team is doing its preparation in Japan," a team statement said.

Caterham, who are joint last in the constructors' standings, laid off more than 40 staff in July.

The current action concerns a supplier to parent company MRT1, Caterham said in a statement, refuting "uncontrolled rumours" the team's involvement in Formula 1...

Read more: Caterham to race on despite bailiffs

The man went to a Dallas emergency room on Friday, but was sent home with antibiotics, as Alastair Leithead reports

Children have come into contact with the first patient to be diagnosed with Ebola on US soil, the governor of Texas has said.

At a news conference at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Rick Perry said the children were being monitored "at home" for symptoms.

The patient is thought to have contracted the virus in Liberia before coming to the US nearly two...

Read more: Texas children 'monitored for Ebola'


The Syrian town of Kobane is still under siege, two weeks after Islamic State fighters began their assault....

Read more: VIDEO: Explosions as coalition strikes IS

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